Regrets. Melancholy or motivation? Normally we see this word as a heart breaker. But what if we used this word as a catapult to make things happen? What if, we stood taller and said, “No more regrets, let’s do this!”

Lack of time, fear, and rejection seem to play a major role in regrets. In my world those obstacles distracted me and still occasionally distract me in living a do-more-than-exist kind of life. For instance; at a young age I was offered a major role in the high school musical, The Music Man; I wanted it, but I turned it down. Another time I qualified to be in a downhill ski race; I wanted to, but again said ‘no’. Yet another was when I should have tried-out for Drum Major of the high school marching band; again I wanted to, but didn’t.

These are small examples of regrets; not too damaging to others, but tormenting to self. The kind of regret I’m talking about is the kind where you WANT to do something, but don’t. The sad part about regrets is living by the ‘what if’s’. Maybe a door would have opened or an opportunity presented itself? In an article from the National Institutes of Health, “…regrets of inaction last longer than regrets of action in part because they reflect greater perceived opportunity.”

Case in point, many times we don’t know we’ll regret something until some time has passed. We can go there in our minds, “I wish I would have”, but if we stay there nothing will happen but continued despair. Listen friends, being palatalized by our regret is not an option. You’re better than that; you’re too valuable to live under that cloud. The world’s values might want you to stay there, but God certainly doesn’t. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV

The Top Regrets

If you ‘Google’ “regrets in life” you’ll find a slew of articles. One of those articles was about a nurse; she cared for people who were on their deathbed. You can imagine the dialogue she had with her patients. The conversations that hit home were the ones about regrets. Sadly she heard a lot of same thing. Do any of these resonate with you?

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.  
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

Other top regrets I found in my research were education (this was number one), career choices, romance, and parenting. Interesting isn’t it? Sure, I have some insignificant regrets in all those areas, but let’s face it, when we’re in the moment our emotions dance around the right choice. I know I’m not alone.

Time

I ran across this term: Sexagesimal. Wikipedia assured me it has nothing to with sex, but it has a lot to do with time. In the 3rd millennium BC sexagesimal was defined as a numerical system for time having a base of 60. Sexagesimal helped us put numbers on the clock. The choices in-between those numbers defines how we live…physically and emotionally; living with satisfaction or regret. What are you doing in-between the numbers?

Fear

Fear and rejection go hand in hand. This is a big one, and the primary culprit to regrets. The root of this gap is self-confidence. Hello? If I were more confident I would have said ‘yes’ to the musical, ‘yes’ to the ski race, and ‘yes’ I’ll tryout for drum major. What about “I’ll checkout some college courses”, “I’m going to submit my resume”, or “I’m going to ask her/him out”? If my confidence and self-assurance were stronger, then the word ‘regret’ wouldn’t exist in my vocabulary.

What can do to move forward?

man in red sweater smiling
  1. We can come to grips with our past regrets. It’s done, you can’t reverse it. But you can learn from it. Being aware of opportunities, your values, and life goals can give you a huge leg-up on making good choices. Ask God for help. He’s our creator; ask Him for guidance, healing, for protection, and opportunity? “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28 NIV
  2. “Let it go”. Not so. This popular verse is being overused. ‘Letting it go’ isn’t easy, and in some sight maybe you’re not suppose to ‘let it go’. This is where you search deep for meaning and pray about it.  Let’s say you were an amazing baker at the age of 13, have always loved baking but never entered into a baking contest. You wanted to do it but didn’t and it still tugs at your strings today. Maybe God is saying, “Don’t let it go yet, ask me what do to about it.”
  3. Write about it. Grab a notebook and write about what you regret. Get it down on paper so you can let go of it…if it is meant to be let go of. You may see something you’ve never seen before that will bring a better understanding of what happened. Tell someone you trust about it. Mourn on it. Just get it out of your system and into the hands of Jesus. He knows what to do with it.
  4. Make a vision board. Be clear on looking ahead and knowing what you want to achieve. This helps keep your dreams in sight and serves as a trail marker on your path. You can go to Freebies for a free guide on how to make one.
  5. “I did it.” This is where self-confidence comes into play. This is so huge; I don’t want you to miss this. The words have great power in building self-confidence. To get there we must start with small goals that are realistic and doable. Some people make a to-do list. If it’s to bake cookies today, assemble a bookshelf, or research how to start a website, make it a point to cross it off your list by the end of the day. Write the goal down and focus on it until you have done it. Then continue to challenge yourself with another small goal, then another, and then another. Repeated “I did it” experiences will turn you into a confident and courageous powerhouse.

I hope you found this helpful in your journey. Make the time between the numbers count. Let’s move forward; no more regrets.

Need a little extra help in moving forward, a listening ear, or some powerful questions to be asked. Connect with me, let’s chat.

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By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

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